There’s a bit of irony in starting a streetwear brand in a city on one coast and opening retail space on the other. But Brooklyn-based line Tier has done just that, while becoming a standout streetwear line in New York City. On April 15, 2022, Tier opened its first physical pop-up, not at The Big Apple but at the Beverly Center, located in Los Angeles, after seven years growing its presence in the New York City streetwear scene.
Founded in 2014 by Brooklyn Natives, Creative Director Nigeria Ealey, Finance Director Esaie Jean Simon and Art Director Victor James, Tier represents a city of art lovers and creatives who see fashion as a vehicle of expression and self-esteem. Tier creates staples like embroidered plush crews and hoodies with matching sweatpants and shorts, made from French Terry cotton. They also create custom camo designs, utility and workwear styles, all streetwear favorites but with refined attention to detail.
From the eCommerce platform and Brooklyn studio, Tier and its founders have doubled down in their second highest and most desirable market in their customer base, Los Angeles, bridging a gap between the coast. Tier opened a 975 sqm site designed with creativity in mind, with a collection of art and art literature, reflecting the things that brought the three founders together, each with a bachelor’s degree with a background in art. For the Tier brand, it’s an “overwhelmingly heartwarming moment that a brand owner can dream of,” describes Ealey, one of TIER’s three co-founders.
Tier has made a name for itself in New York with ‘Project’ drops. Each capsule has a common theme and builds solid colorways or designs for easy style combination. The Los Angeles pop-up would unveil Tier’s capsule collection that combines the design aesthetic with LA-inspired graphics and embroidered logos on hoodies, crewnecks, sweatpants, T-shirts and hats. The name in the west is commonly referred to as “Tier NYC” and includes phrases like “TLA” logos on hats and “Tier Hills” prints on merchandise, a tribute to a city that recognizably inspires the brand and its founders.
“We created a capsule where we reinvented some of our favorite branded products and brought our New York flair to a new location. We’re excited to finally be in touch with our family in California on a larger scale,” explains Ealey. The LA pop-up launch includes exclusive in-store merchandise of the limited-edition TIER Black Capsule, featuring a signature Space Pant, Tactical Vest and Puffer Jacket, all in leather. Aside from the organic drops, they’ve also worked with some of New York’s most notable figures in street culture.
Tier previously collaborated with Carmelo Anthony and his Propel collection, part of his STAYME7O Propel program, in September 2020. Reimagining the creative spaces and cultural landscape for diversity and the underserved, STAYME7O and Anthony would coincide with the motto that Tier exists on; “Art never dies.”
A chance to join a former Knick opened doors. Following the NBA all-star’s lead, Tier teamed up with the Brooklyn Nets in February 2022, cementing its place in the city that never sleeps, with phrases like “Thorough Borough” printed on T-shirts in the collection. The move to Los Angeles would be a delayed process with the pandemic, but on April 15, 2022, Tier would open its doors at Level 7 in the Beverly Center, among notable fashion brands.
Celebrities often wear Tier, such as former NFL receiver Brandon Marshall, Usher, model Winnie Harlow, Diddy, Rick Ross, Issa Rae, Carmelo Anthony, Jimmy Butler and rapper Young Thug, just to name a few. Opening the doors in LA wasn’t about celebrity cache. For Tier, it seems to be about their customer base and how they connect with them. The West Coast pop-up is a home for creativity, including panel discussions and events, and with its current success, the three-month plan to occupy Los Angeles has extended its presence through August 15. “Opening a temporary store in LA brought a lot of impactful, brand insight. Seeing people interact not only with the space we created, but also with our garments – trying them on, experiencing the quality in real time and getting feedback was amazing. ” concludes Ealey.